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The Wolfram|Alpha Team

Make Air Travel Fun with Details on Flight Path, Exact Location, and More

May 24, 2012 —
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May 20–22 has held many major milestones in the history of aviation. Charles Lindbergh began the world’s first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 20, 1927 (and completed it one day later). Just five years after that on May 21, 1932, Amelia Earhart began her one-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, those moments wouldn’t have been possible without the Wright Brothers patenting their airplane on May 22, 1906.

We’ve blogged in the past about the aviation functionality that Wolfram|Alpha knows. The query “flights overhead” is quite popular, but it only scratches the surface of what we can do.

While your friends or family are preparing to drive to the airport to pick you up, give them the name of your airline and flight number, and they can track exactly where you are in the air. Plus, they’ll see details on the scheduled departure and landing, actual departure and landing, air speed, altitude, and more.

American Airlines flight 431 departing on May 23, 2012 7:21 am

Many airlines now include Wi-Fi in their airplanes. If the inflight entertainment just isn’t cutting the mustard for you, pull out your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and give Wolfram|Alpha your flight’s information to see exactly where you are during a flight. No longer do you have to wonder which state you are currently flying over or what city it was that you saw out the window.

When you get to your destination and you need to find the nearest Starbucks, don’t forget that Wolfram|Alpha can help you there too. Let’s say you were on a flight from Miami to San Francisco. When you ask Wolfram|Alpha for the Starbucks nearest to San Francisco International Airport, you’ll not only see there is one located in the airport itself, but four others within two miles.

Starbucks nearest to San Francisco International Airport

While you enjoy your coffee, you can do a quick weather comparison to see just how much the temperature changed from where you began to where you ended up:

weather San Francisco, Miami

Flying to someplace sunny? Wolfram|Alpha also offers a great sunburn calculator. Queries like “time to sunburn” and “UV forecast Santa Monica California” provide facts that can help keep your skin healthy this summer.

To make these queries even easier on the go, be sure to check out the Wolfram Flight Information Reference App for iOS or the Wolfram Travel Assistant App for iOS.

Safe travels this holiday weekend!